Science, Religion Can Coexist in School

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February 16, 2012 Tags: Education

Today's entry was written by Ross Pomeroy. Please note the views expressed here are those of the author, not necessarily of The BioLogos Foundation. You can read more about what we believe here.

Science, Religion Can Coexist in School

This blog has been reposted with permission from RealClearScience.

On January 31st, the Indiana State Senate passed Senate Bill 89, allowing public schools to teach creationism alongside the theory of evolution in science classes. The bill will now go before the Republican-controlled House and then must pass the desk of Governor Mitch Daniels before becoming law.

If it does, there will surely be a court challenge. In 1987, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Edwards v. Aguillard that a Louisiana law requiring creationism to be taught in public schools was unconstitutional. Notably, the court's decision was supported by 72 Nobel prize-winning scientists.

However, there is a subtle distinction between the Louisiana law of 1987 and the recently passed Senate Bill 89 in Indiana. Senate Bill 89 does not require the teaching of creationism in public schools; it merely allows schools to teach it. Whether this will make any difference constitutionally remains to be seen.

Unsurprisingly, the Indiana bill has once again rekindled the dispute over the teaching of creationism in public schools and, in doing so, it has breathed new life into the debate over whether or not faith and science can coexist in society.

I believe that they can, and on Saturday, the Indy Star published viewpoints from Three Wise People, two Methodist pastors and one instructor of ethics, who also believe that faith and science are compatible. It's also possible that maybe, just maybe, faith and science can be taught side by side in public schools. (It's probably not appropriate to do so in a biology class, but they could certainly be taught in a religion, philosophy or history class.)

Naturally, in today's polarized climate, this academic exercise would be a very tall order. However, because religion and science are both so important to our society, it may be healthy for schools to encourage -- rather than discourage -- dialogue between the two. Harmony, rather than antagonism, should be promoted. So, what must be done in order to achieve this lofty goal of fostering an intellectual religion-science discussion?

First, people must realize that religion and science are not in conflict. Accepting that the universe formed 13.75 billion years ago (give or take a hundred million years) and that life on Earth evolved over the course of 3.7 billion years is not incompatible with a belief in God.

Second, it may be interesting to determine if a consensus view of "creation" from all major religions is possible. (I am not using the word "creation" here in the sense of "creationism" -- i.e., belief in a 6,000-year old earth -- since that is not compatible with science.) Our first Wise Person, Pastor Donald Lacy, suggested an interfaith event including Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists to construct a common definition of "creation."

Third, holy books cannot be strictly interpreted if science and faith are to mingle in schools. Unwavering belief in the literal interpretation of every story written thousands of years ago -- some of which were not meant to be interpreted literally -- leaves little room for free and scientific thinking. Science tells us to have an open mind, to have fluid beliefs informed from fact-based observations and evidence. So, our second Wise Person, Reverend Brenda Freije, has this to say about her Christian tradition:

"Within this framework, there is plenty of room for science, including the science of evolution. What can be measured and tested and studied through scientific methods informs my theology, and my theology informs how I understand the results of that scientific method... There is tremendous wisdom and sound advice in the Scriptures, and I believe the teachings in the Bible, if honestly followed, will be a source of joy, peace, love and life..."

At their most basic level, faith and science are compatible in one essential respect: They are both tools for understanding, meant to help better ourselves and the world around us. As our third Wise Person, Greg Manship, an adjunct instructor in ethics at the University of Indianapolis, reminds us:

There is no faith without science, for even Jesus challenged Thomas to gather empirical evidence by touching Jesus' resurrected body. And there is no science without faith, for even scientists have faith and believe in the possibilities of what they have not yet seen with their own eyes. We fail our students and we fool ourselves when we "believe" we have "proof" of the "incompatibility" between science and faith.

As these Wise People demonstrated, there is plenty of room in society for faith and science to get along peaceably and cooperatively. Honestly, we should have set aside this petty and unnecessary conflict between religion and science years ago.

Ross Pomeroy is the weekend editor of RealClearScience and regular contributor to the Newton Blog.


Steven Ross Pomeroy is the assistant editor for Real Clear Science, a science news aggregator. He regularly contributes to RCS’ Newton Blog. As a writer, Steven believes that his greatest assets are his insatiable curiosity and his ceaseless love for learning. Follow on Twitter @SteRoPo.


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beaglelady - #67967

February 16th 2012

Actually this bill has been shelved. You can read about it here:

http://ncse.com/news/2012/02/creationist-bill-indiana-shelved-007207

It was a thinly-veiled attempt to sneak creationism into the science classroom and undermine evolution.  Creationism is permissible in Philosophy or Comparative Religion classes. 

“Unsurprisingly,  the Indiana bill has once again rekindled the dispute over the teaching of creationism in public schools and, in doing so, it has breathed new life into the debate over whether or not faith and science can coexist in society.”

Huh? These are completely different ideas!!  Besides, bills like this are always being introduced,  and they usually die.  For example, Alabama introduced a creationism bill on Feb. 15.

”...it may be interesting to determine if a consensus view of “creation” from all major religions is possible. (I am not using the word “creation” here in the sense of “creationism” —i.e., belief in a 6,000-year old earth—since that is not compatible with science.) Our first Wise Person, Pastor Donald Lacy, suggested an interfaith event including Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists to construct a common definition of “creation.”

Won’t work for Mormons; they believe that matter is eternal. (And their God is not eternal!)

btw, “RealClearScience” is really bad English!

 

 

 


Roger A. Sawtelle - #67968

February 16th 2012

Of course faith and science can live together.  It is just that people have defined Creation and evolution in a ways to make them incompatible.

I just wonder how the schools will handle this hot potato.  I do not see the legislature providing leadership to bring about reconciliation, therefore I question its wisdom. 


dont_blame_me_blame_evolution - #67975

February 16th 2012

I’m all for the teaching of evolution in schools. In fact, I think it essential.

Provided, that is, that evolution is taught only in classes on religion and philosophy.


I’d like to see classes with titles like “The Dogma of Darwin” and

“Assumptions Inherent in the Scientific Endeavor”; subtitle:

“Beware what Felix Unger said about assumptions!”  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKlWGZHEO7Q  (I like the whole thing, but the “assuming” starts at 4:29)


I’m NOT for teaching evolution in real science classes, like biology. Absolutely not.

In fact, I’ll fight (is that a dirty word?) to prevent my tax dollars from funding classes like “evolutionary biology” and the teachers who teach them.

It’s still a free country. (For now, anyway.)


dont_blame_me_blame_evolution - #67978

February 16th 2012

What is the current state of evolution education?

Regarding the Gallup poll data toward the bottom of page 2 of “Behold the Man” (I’ll provide the URL for the second time: http://www.gallup.com/poll/145286/four-americans-believe-strict-creationism.aspx)

 

it, of course, has no bearing on the truth or falsehood of the subject matter of what people believe. It, like any poll, speaks only to what people believe. [The “truth” is not determined by, or subject to, any poll. The truth is the truth regardless of whether everyone believes it or no one believes it.]

This Gallup poll might be considered a report card on the state of evolution education.

A lot of water has gone under the bridge. Darwin published The Origin of Species in 1859, evolution has been taught in U.S. schools since the 1960s, and the mainstream media report new “evolutionary” findings and speculations on a daily basis. That’s a good bit of time and teaching. Evolution certainly needs a great deal of time, but as far as the state of evolution education and its effectiveness, the passage of time hasn’t seemed to help.

I was wondering why this is. Why is it that 22% to 60% (average 40%) of the U.S. population still doesn’t believe in any flavor of evolution after all this time?

My guess is that the people who don’t believe in evolution are

1) Stupid,  or

2) Smart enough, in most circumstances, but unfortunately not as smart as evolutionary scientists/teachers, or

3) Smart enough, but the evolutionary scientists/teachers are not competent enough, or

4) Smart enough, and the evolutionary scientists/teachers are competent enough, but they haven’t proven their case and, unfortunately, the evolutionary teaching materials the teachers do have are not persuasive/compelling enough.

Or maybe “all of the above”?

What do you all think out there?


Roger A. Sawtelle - #67980

February 16th 2012

I think that when people are told that they must choose between faith and science, they are smart enough to know that this is a false choice.


Ashe - #67983

February 16th 2012

In most cases I’d guess it’s because they want Genesis 1 to be literally true. That’s the only reason I can think of for dismissing the vast amount of evidence in favor of evolution. 


Roger A. Sawtelle - #67984

February 16th 2012

It could be that they know that Life does have meaning, while Darwinists say that science says it does not.  That seems to me a good reason not to think evolution is wrong. 

I mean Who are you going to trust, your own experience or some experts? 


beaglelady - #67986

February 16th 2012

Science is not able to address topics such as the meaning of life, even though it is an important topic. 


Roger A. Sawtelle - #67990

February 16th 2012

Beagle Lady,

The eminent scientist and former Marxist Jacques Monod has written a book, Chance and Necessity, which has become the source of the philosophy of science accepted by many scientists and others, according to sources I have read.  He claims that that the universe, which includes humanity, is without meaning and purpose. 

Of course our friends Dawkins and Dennett claim to speak for science and take the stand that the universe is purely physical and thus without meaning and purpose. 

Thus while you are right that science per se can not address the topic of whether life has meaning, the world view embraced by many scientists and which is said to be the source of its success rejects the claim that life has meaning.  

 

 


beaglelady - #67991

February 16th 2012

What are your sources?  Dawkins and Dennett don’t speak for all scientists.


PNG - #68015

February 17th 2012

I doubt that Monod’s book has really had that much influence, although a lot of people have probably gotten to similar views without encountering Monod. I did know a scientist who had known Monod. He said, “I have known many scientists who did not believe in God. Monod was the only one I have known who believed that he was God.” Evidently Jacques could get rather worked up over these things.


Roger A. Sawtelle - #68035

February 17th 2012

PNG,

Unfortunately an ad hominem arguement does not work here.

As I said he is quoted as an authority and he is a Nobel winning scientist. 


beaglelady - #68039

February 17th 2012

Again, what are your sources, and how is PNG’s comment an ad hominem argument?  40% of U.S. scientists believe in a personal God.


Roger A. Sawtelle - #68042

February 17th 2012

Beagle Lady,

Check out the Wikipedia.

PNG’s comment was about the man’s ego, not his philosophy.

I am glad that many scientists believe in God, but that is not the point, unless you want to make it a point.

Most Catholic women use contraception.  

 


Uncle Bonobo - #68056

February 18th 2012

You know your that burning sensation in your throat is heartburn. Those idiot expert doctors, however, think it’s a blocked artery.


Who are you going to trust, your own experience or some experts?

Those people interested in dealing with reality and its consequences will listen to experts. Their lives may depend on it.

Roger A. Sawtelle - #68062

February 18th 2012

Uncle,

You are right, the experts can be right, esp when they have some evidence to back up their diagnosis.  One definitely should not go around playing doctor on oneself and others.

However it does happen that the “experts” dismiss reports of pain that later result in serious problems.  Human beings are first line of defense against disease in their own bodies, not the experts.

Those who are willing to defer to the experts in science do not seem to be willing to defer to the experts in theology.  We definitely need experts in every field, and yet we need to think for ourselves also.

Do you agree with Papa and Athena and their “expert scientific” knowledge that reality is unreal, so we must live only in the moment?     


beaglelady - #68069

February 18th 2012

“Human beings are first line of defense against disease in their own bodies, not the experts

Not always. That’s why it’s important to get your blood pressure checked  and be screened for certain forms of cancer (e.g. colon) even if you feel “perfectly fine.”


PNG - #68014

February 17th 2012

A lot of people are capable of simply screening out evidence that doesn’t fit with what they deeply want to believe. If they have a strongly held belief system, especially one that they got early in life, they can simply rationalize away the strongest evidence in order to preserve their framework of belief. I have seen psychological studies that found that the people who cling to YEC views often have the same kind of personalities as militant atheists. Both have a strong need for a belief system that explains everything, little tolerance for uncertainty, and a tendency to be combative with anyone who brings up evidence against their belief system. I’m convinced that the psychology of particular personality types has a lot to do with the stance people take.


Ronnie - #68055

February 17th 2012

PNG

This is amusing, the pot calling the kettle black.


PNG - #68105

February 20th 2012

Ronnie, I was raised in fundamentalist background. I was a molecular biologist  for 35 years. I’m quite familiar with a very large amount of research from doing research myself and from reading the primary literature. I know the problem from both sides. For a long time I didn’t have a definite position on evolution, but I finally found evidence that was overwhelmingly convincing. You have no right to insult me.


Ronnie - #68110

February 20th 2012

PNG

I was not insulting you, I just think that ‘evolutionist’ could just as well be used in place of ‘YEC’ in your post above. You see, there are many YECers (I prefer the term biblical creationist) who feel just as strongly as you that the evidence supports the creation model. You said it right in your second sentence, “if they have a strongly held belief system”, and I take it that your belief in the certainty of evolution is as strong as mine is that all things were created by God as stated in Genesis. In my view, creation and evolution are on equal ground in that neither can be scientifically proven or disproven, so it boils down to what one believes. There will never be any slam dunk (scientific) proof that God created this world in 6 days about 6000 years ago, because God wants us to believe that he did by faith (Heb 11:3). Similarly, I don’t think there ever will be any (scientific) proof that evolution has, or is, occuring. I know plenty, like yourself, have stated that there is an overwhelming amount, but I feel that is due to a strongly held belief system in the ‘faith’ if you will that evolution is true. This is my point of view, you can disagree and probably will, but this is how I see it.

I apologize if you were insulted by my comment, it wasn’t intended to be but after reading it again, I can see that it could taken that way.

Roger A. Sawtelle - #68112

February 20th 2012

(Heb 11:3 NIV)  By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

Ronnie,

Yes, it is clear that Christians understand by faith that God created the heavens and the earth “ex nihilo,” but I do not see where it says that this was 6 thousand years ago.  Since there is good evidence that it happened more than 6 thousand years ago, where does this evidence come from?   

Nor do I see that this has anything to do with evidence for evolutionary change. 

God wants us to trust in Jesus Christ, not some fundamentalist understanding of the Bible.  YEC serves to discourage real faith, not to encourage it.   


Ronnie - #68113

February 20th 2012

The geneologies from Adam to Noah, Noah to Abraham, Abraham to David and to Jesus give the date of creation at approximately 4000 B.C.

As far as the evidence you speak of, as I said in my post above, I don’t believe there can be conclusive evidence to prove that the earth is older than 6000 years, or for that matter, to prove that it is only 6000 years old. That would mean going back in time to observe whether God created the world 6000 years ago, 13 billion years ago, or that evolution has been going on for millions of years, its just not possible to extrapolate what is observed today to say with certainty what exactly happened in the past and when.

I think God wants us to take him at his word. He wants us to be in the world, but not of this world. He knew this (creation/evolution) would be a divisive issue at this stage in history, and wants us to choose to believe what he says over what the world says, so I will disagree with you Roger, and say that YEC (belief in the biblical account of creation) serves to encourage faith, not to discourage it.

Roger A. Sawtelle - #68114

February 20th 2012

Ronnie,

God’s Word is Jesus Christ.  When you insist, contrary to John 1, that the Bible is God’s Word, then you contradict God and belittle Jesus Christ, the true God’s Word. 

When God creates the universe and God is still in the business of creating, God creates the evidence you disparage.  Therefore it seems to me that you are in effect calling God a liar for creating evidence that reasonably dates the begining of the earth much more than 6000 years ago and the universe much older than that.

Even if we cannot say with absolute certainty what happened when, where, and how, you must not attempt to substitute Biblical certainty for scientific faith.  All humans live by faith so certainty based on the Biblical account is bogus.   

You contradict the faith you claim to believe. This is the source of the division you say you want to avoid.    


beaglelady - #68115

February 20th 2012

If God is a deceitful magician who created the universe 6000 years ago (or 5 minutes ago for that matter), but made it look exactly as if it’s about 13 billion years old,  there’s not much we can do about it, is there? 


dont_blame_me_blame_evolution - #68133

February 20th 2012

Was God likewise being a “deceitful magician” by taking on human flesh, being born like a regular diaper-dirtier, growing up and living in obscurity for 30 years?

Would have been much better PR if He had descended to earth in a way similar to His exit. Maybe could have added some horns and angels. He could have had a huge throng of believers right from the start.

But NOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

“Deceitful.”

 


dont_blame_me_blame_evolution - #68117

February 20th 2012

Ronnie,

Well said!!


Ronnie - #68128

February 20th 2012

Roger

Not quite sure I understand you.

Jesus Christ is the living Word (John 1) and the bible is Gods written word, the 2 do not contradict.

Can you show me from the bible where God is still creating? On the seventh day, God rested from all that he had made (past tense), which was very good. I don’t see where a continuing creation fits in here. As far as the date of creation being 6000 years ago, I mentioned above that it must be accepted by faith, for to say the earth, or universe is 13 billion years old, or any other number must also be accepted by faith. How do you and Beaglelady “know” that 13,000,000,000 is right? How do you “know” the universe “looks” old? Have you seen a young universe? Were you there when the universe began? You can choose to believe God is a “deceitful magician”, but I believe He is powerful enough to have created all things instantly if he wanted, but he used 6 days to be a model for us to live by, which we do, every day of the week.

dont_

Thank you.

beaglelady - #68129

February 20th 2012

To be more precise, the universe is 13.7 billion years old.  The Hubble Telescope enabled astrophysicists to calculate the age of the universe. We know the universe is expanding, the rate of expansion,  and that the universe had a beginning.   You can find a discussion of it here:

http://www.amnh.org/news/2011/05/carnegie-observatories-wendy-freedman-on-hubble-and-size-of-universe/

 

 

 

 

 

 


Ronnie - #68134

February 20th 2012

Oh, I’m sorry Beaglelady, I was off by 700,000,000 years… Historians have a hard time determining what happened just a couple hundred years ago, but it can be said with certainty what happened 13,700,000,000 years ago…right.


beaglelady - #68154

February 21st 2012

Do historians have an impossible time determining what happened hundreds of years ago (if we set aside the possibility that we are dealing with implanted memories and hoaxed evidence)?


Ronnie - #68174

February 21st 2012

I didn’t say impossible, but if they have a difficult time going back only a couple hundred years, even with historical records from people who were there, how much more difficult is it to determine precisely what happened 13,700,000,000 years ago, without eyewitnesses accounts? I would say impossible.


beaglelady - #68175

February 21st 2012

Are you sure it’s really so difficult to go back several hundred years?  Why are there so many books on history? Are they really just so much bull?

 


dont_blame_me_blame_evolution - #68136

February 20th 2012

“This paper will stir people up,” says Ian Williams, an isotope geochemist at Australian National University in Canberra.

See if you can make sense of this article. It appears that something believed to be as old as 4.24 billion years old turns out to be as little as 800 million years old. (Error of as much as 430%.) http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2011/11/earths-time-capsules-may-be-flaw-1.html

 

Perhaps a need to check the battery in the Early Archaean Armitron? Help may be available:  http://www.armitronservice.com/Repair_Services.html

 


Roger A. Sawtelle - #68130

February 20th 2012

Don’t Blame,

Please read John 5:16 (NIV)  So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted him.
17  Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.”
18  For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

First of all Jesus said that the Father and the Son did not a working or rest on the 7th day contradicting the the Commandment.  If the seventh day, our Saturday, was designed as a permanent day of rest, then God would not have abrogated this and made the first day God’s special day.  Are you a Seventh Day believer? 

Are you aware that there is another version of the Ten Commandments (Deu 10:6-20) and it differs with the one in Exodus in only one aspect and that is in this commandment?  So there is nothing mystical about the seventh day. 

God continues to work and God’s work is always to create.  See Psalm 139:14 (NIV)  “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

All human beings are created by God (which does not means that they are not also the product of sperm and egg!)

Jesus Christ is the Logos, the Rational Word of God.  God made humans in God’s own Image, and gave us a Mond for thinking.  Jesus is not God’s mythos, God’s irrational world of God that we are to believe no matter what. 

Jesus was born as a human being like all human beings.  He was 100% human as well as 100% God.  Mary went through a 90 day pregnancy, not a 6 day one. 

Jesus is our model, not creation.  Jews worship on the Sabbath, the last day of Creation.  Christians worship on the first day, the day of Resurrection and Salvation.  The day of the New Creation.  Jesus Is the Logos, the rational Word of God.  He does contradict the Old Covenant by reconciling nature, humanity and God in His Person. 

To embrace the new, one must let go of the old.  Paul learned this and so must you.  Stop believing in Jewish legalism posing as Christianity and embrace the real thing.  

 

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dont_blame_me_blame_evolution - #68135

February 20th 2012

Roger,

You appear to be mixed up again. I think your response was supposed to be directed to Ronnie.


Roger A. Sawtelle - #68158

February 21st 2012

Ronnie (68128),

Please read John 5:16 (NIV)  So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted him.
17 Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.”
18 For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

First of all Jesus said that the Father and the Son did not a working or rest on the 7th day contradicting the the Commandment.  If the seventh day, our Saturday, was designed as a permanent day of rest, then God would not have abrogated this and made the first day God’s special day.  Are you a Seventh Day believer?

Are you aware that there is another version of the Ten Commandments (Deu 10:6-20) and it differs with the one in Exodus in only one aspect and that is in this commandment?  So there is nothing mystical about the seventh day.

God continues to work and God’s work is always to create.  See Psalm 139:14 (NIV)  “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

All human beings are created by God (which does not means that they are not also the product of sperm and egg!)

Jesus Christ is the Logos, the Rational Word of God.  God made humans in God’s own Image, and gave us a Mond for thinking.  Jesus is not God’s mythos, God’s irrational world of God that we are to believe no matter what. 

Jesus was born as a human being like all human beings.  He was 100% human as well as 100% God.  Mary went through a 90 day pregnancy, not a 6 day one. 

Jesus is our model, not creation.  Jews worship on the Sabbath, the last day of Creation.  Christians worship on the first day, the day of Resurrection and Salvation.  The day of the New Creation.  Jesus Is the Logos, the rational Word of God.  He does contradict the Old Covenant by reconciling nature, humanity and God in His Person. 

To embrace the new, one must let go of the old.  Paul learned this and so must you.  Stop believing in Jewish legalism posing as Christianity and embrace the real thing. 

 


dont_blame_me_blame_evolution - #68118

February 20th 2012

PNG,

I finally found evidence that was overwhelmingly convincing.”

Finally! Great!

Let me have it.

And if I like it, maybe I’ll ask for a second helping.  Otherwise…

 

Anyone,

Do we have any barf bags on this flight (of fanciful faith)?

 

 


Chip - #67979

February 16th 2012

I’m wondering how many people (of any ideological stripe) are concerned about our kids being taught subjects like Energy and Heat, Waves, Motions and Forces, Atomic Structures, Acids Bases and Salts, Solutions, Animals, Plants, Ecosystems, Chemical Reactions, Astronomy, Physiology or Ecology.  The fact is, the long list of subjects presented in the typical HS science curriculum is completely uncontroversial. 

So (once again), the controversy is not about “science and religion.”  It’s about worldview and a philosophy of origins. That’s when the fundamentalists start trying to smuggle ideas like “purpose,” “design,” and “theological [and] spiritual explanations of the life process” into our children’s public school science education! 

Like this guy, for example: 

Darwin showed that material causes are a sufficient explanation not only for physical phenomena, as Descartes and Newton had shown, but also for biological phenomena with all their seeming evidence of design and purpose. By coupling undirected, purposeless variation to the blind, uncaring process of natural selection, Darwin made theological or spiritual explanations of the life processes superfluous. Together with Marx’s materialistic theory of history and society and Freud’s attribution of human behavior to influences over which we have little control, Darwin’s theory of evolution was a crucial plank in the platform of mechanism and materialism—- of much of science, in short—- that has since been the stage of most Western thought.
Futuyma, D. J.
Evolutionary Biology
Sinauer Associates Inc., 1986, Sunderland, MA, p. 2

But, not to worry.  We can all take heart in the fact that such religious posturing—if it’s allowed in the schoolhouse door at all—is relegated to literature and philosophy classes….


beaglelady - #67987

February 16th 2012

Really Chip?  What about global warming and the age of the earth?

Is Futuyma’s book a high school text book?


dont_blame_me_blame_evolution - #67998

February 17th 2012

Chip - #68012

February 17th 2012

Yes, really.  My list was gleaned from an on-line source for HS education (NY maybe…?).  Sure, go ahead and add GW and AoE (I have no beef with either) because whatever tweaking you might want to do doesn’t change the basic point:  the vast majority of what is presented in HS science classes is utterly uncontroversial. 

As to whether DF’s book is a HS text, I suspect it isn’t.  But again, you fail to grasp the point.  The point is if someone with Futuyma’s ideological pedigree talks openly and explicitly about “spiritual explanations” (his language—not mine) this is generally encouraged (and uncritically at that) because he’s a “scientist.” 

He (and you) can’t have it both ways:  if his perspective on spiritual explanations is allowed in a science classroom, mine (and yours and everyone else’s) should be too.  If things like “purpose” “care” and “directedness” really can be measured scientifically (and i dare you to even try to demonstrate that they are), then all kinds of perspectives are in.  On the other hand, if all such things are “not science” as we are explicitly, stridently and repeatedly told, then they should be “not science” for everyone.  But folks of DF’s ideological stripe consistently fail to recognize this basic fact. 

Finally, if you don’t think that the views of opinion leaders like futuyma (and dennet and dawkins and coyne and all the rest…) don’t flow down into HS curricula, you’re probably more than a little naive. 

So, just to be clear:  am I advocating that creationism be taught in public schools.  No—not at all.  I am advocating that all statements of faith related to origins (like the ones DF is preaching in the above citation) be eliminated from science curricula and classrooms at every level. 


beaglelady - #68018

February 17th 2012

So if militant atheists preach against religion, it ends up in the high school science curriculum? lol!  Do tell us the high schools you are talking about.


Chip - #68034

February 17th 2012

Wow—I see it now.  I’m sure you’re right:  we have no reason to believe that any material from a widely-used collegiate textbook would ever see the inside of a real high school.  It’s a crazy idea that couldn’t ever actually happen.  Thanks for clearing that up for me. 


beaglelady - #68040

February 17th 2012

I just want to know the high schools that are influenced by Futuyma.


Uncle Bonobo - #68057

February 18th 2012

You need to work on your reading comprehension.


What words are modified by “spiritual explanations?”

If Futayama had made a similar observation that meteorology has replaced the spiritual belief that Thor’s hammer brings thunder, would you claim that meterology is religion in disguise?


dont_blame_me_blame_evolution - #67994

February 16th 2012

Chip,

Exactly.

Why do we so often hear about an uneasy relationship, even a battle, between religion and science?

When’s the last time you read a headline about a court case, or even just a controversy, over

Religion and Energy and Heat,

Religion and Atomic Structures,

Religion and Plants,

Religion and Physiology,

Religion and Ecosystems,

Religion and…

As the evolutionists say, “I could go on and on…”

 

Yet, survey says… Big issues between religion and SCIENCE!

 


Roger A. Sawtelle - #68068

February 18th 2012

Chip,

I disagree with this statement also, but I think that people of faith have gone about opposing it in the wrong way.  We need to show that the science is wrong, not by looking at Genesis, but at the universe.  We need to use our efforts to beat science at its own game. 

ID is one effort and it is useful in pointing out that life is designed, but it is weak in that it also tries to say that God directly influences life.  People know from their life experiences that life is NOT without design and direction.   Ecology points this out also.  Thus people of faith need to join ecology to disprove scientifically and philosophically the materialist claims of Darwin and Darwinism.     


Ronnie - #67988

February 16th 2012

Given the current state of our country, the teaching of creation in public schools doesn’t have a snowballs chance on a July afternoon in Texas. Education begins at home, it is a parents responsibility to teach their children and monitor what they are learning in school. They must be taught the facts of life, and one fact is that evolution ‘science’ is taught in school, portrayed on TV and other media as a bonafide fact whether we as parents agree with this or not. It is our God given responsibility to teach our kids properly, and not abrogate this responsibility to anyone else.


dont_blame_me_blame_evolution - #67995

February 16th 2012

Ronnie,

it is a parents responsibility to teach their children and monitor what they are learning in school.”

Agreed.

And the Bible and Christian faith probably say that it’s also our responsibility to be good stewards of our gifts. These gifts include our money, which includes our tax dollars. We should do our best to assure that our tax dollars, which fund public AND (to a lesser extent) private education, are spent wisely and not spent on undertakings inimical to faith and reason.

The Bible and Christian faith do NOT allow us to give up just because our odds of earthly success seem to “have a snowballs chance on a July afternoon in Texas.”

The Bible and Christian faith say you fight, you endure… to the end. [cf. 1 Tim 6:12]

Sure as hell, I plan to.

 


Papalinton - #67999

February 17th 2012

From dont_blame_me,  “The Bible and Christian faith say you fight, you endure… to the end. [cf. 1 Tim 6:12].”


Another pitiable Don Quixote forlornly tilting at windmills.
Try as they might, creationists are on a hiding to nothing if they believe they can inveigle creation myths, by way of local legislation, into the science curriculum as an alternative explanation to evolution.  

There isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that this is going to happen.  The christian creation mythos is a dead duck when matched against the exponential growth in the explanatory power validating the facts of evolution.

It is now up to mature and responsible christians to rein in and put paid to those in their flock that continue to peddle the nonsense that evolution is just a theory, or that there is no convincing evidence for it’s [evolution] acknowledgement as fact.  Such obfuscatory tactics and quiet assent of those that traffic in such utter nonsense simply renders the thinking christian’s stance a hypocritical posture and a laughing stock.

When questioned what he would do if it was found that  science conclusively contradicted an element of Buddhist teaching, the Dalai Lama responded, “Throw away the teaching.”



Roger A. Sawtelle - #68006

February 17th 2012

Papa,

So you are a Buddhist disguised as a scientific atheist like Athena?!


Papalinton - #68044

February 17th 2012

Hell no.  But buddhism is attractive but not that attractive to merit wholesale acquiescence to its worldview, a worldview founded on the ancient cultural mores of a long-gone society and a primitive philosophical mindset, just as you infer, the nonsense of reincarnation.


Roger A. Sawtelle - #68049

February 17th 2012

Papa,

Well, then was the Dalai Lama being disingenuous when he said he would dump any non-scientific doctrines?


Roger A. Sawtelle - #68008

February 17th 2012

Papa,

Has the Dalai Lama thrown away the teaching of reincarnation?


Ronnie - #68009

February 17th 2012

This is another sophomoric tactic of hardcore evolutionists…to call Christians ‘mature and responsible’ if they accept evolution as fact, otherwise they are a ‘laughing stock’. Mature and responsible Christians can see right through that.


PNG - #68016

February 17th 2012

Maybe mature and responsible Christians would look at the evidence in detail and see where it leads. But there has been a strand of fundamentalism that has told people that it is a virtue to ignore evidence, indeed that this is what “faith” is, to ignore evidence and go on believing every detail of what they learned in Sunday School as children. According to this view, thinking is not part of growing up, it is a sin. Of course it is possible to find Bible verses that can be misinterpreted to support this. I glad God let me find a way out of that kind of view a long time ago.


beaglelady - #68020

February 17th 2012

Exactly, PNG


Papalinton - #68047

February 17th 2012

” I glad God let me find a way out of that kind of view a long time ago.”

So what you are expressly telling me, PNG,  that you were personally and singularly incapable of finding a way out of ‘that kind of view a long time ago’, without the invisible means of support from your [putatively] live supernatural entity, with whom you socially engage and converse with on a daily basis. You are conceding that without this personal existential attachment in place, you are incapable of self volition.  This denotes to me an inextricable sense of  helplessness, dependence, weakness, defenselessness and vulnerability, and acquiescence on your part, without the support and presence of this spectral numen.

Methinks that is a level below full maturity, and externalizes personal responsibility for your actions to that of a god [“God let you find the way…”]

Papalinton - #68046

February 17th 2012

“Mature and responsible Christians can see right through that.”


See through what, Ronnie?  Are you an evolutionist or an anti-evolutionary laughing stock?  You do not make your position clear in your comment. 

Incidentally, what is sophomoric about promulgating the fact of evolution as the best explanation compared to that of Genesis 1.  I actually and personally do not see a problem with Genesis being an appropriate explanation consistent with the times in which it was conceived.  However, this explanation has now been rightly supplanted by evidence and proofs of the fact of evolution and has superseded the earlier explanation.  

The critical contemporary and somewhat worrying issue is the fatuous and unworldly refusal to acknowledge and appreciate that the earlier Genesis referential frame is utterly devoid of evidential support and does not tally in today’s world.  And the rather maniacal resistance of many to let go of the Genesis mythos is a very concerning endemic malaise in the community. Adherence to antediluvian and outmoded thought processes is anathema to personal growth and development.  It is both a block to good science and a block to reasoned discourse in the community going forward.


Ronnie - #68054

February 17th 2012

Hey Papi

What I meant by sophomoric are your posts full of $10 words to denigrate the core beliefs of millions of people. Your arrogance does nothing to advance the cause of evolution which you have obviously bought into hook, line and sinker.

And if you haven’t surmised by now, I am a YEC’er, or biblical creationist.

Now, back to the topic, as much as I think creation, properly taught would benefit students in school, I will side with Chip and agree its probably best it isn’t. Parents are much more influential and should be the ones to teach their children the truth of creation, and the truth that what they may learn in school may be in conflict with their upbringing.


Uncle Bonobo - #68058

February 18th 2012

Let’s be upfront, Ronnie. YEC is both theologically faulty and scientifically vapid.  


I denigrate it on both grounds.  YEC misleads Christians and destroys faith.  Further it sucks resources from public education that cannot be spared.



Ronnie - #68061

February 18th 2012

Uncle

You are entitled to your opinion but, not surprisingly, I don’t agree with it.

And how much money is spent on teaching YEC in public schools again?


Uncle Bonobo - #68066

February 18th 2012

Millions, unfortunately. 


Wasted on legal fees keeping creationism on some places and millions more on redoing science for those kids who received a stunted scientific education laced with creationism.

I do disagree with you but YEC is not “orthodox” Chirstianity nor representative.  It is a twig on the far branches of the Christian tree right alongside the snake handlers. 

dont_blame_me_blame_evolution - #68045

February 17th 2012

Papalinton,

the EXPONENTIAL growth in the EXPLANATORY power validating the facts of evolution… the nonsense that evolution is just a theory, or that there is no CONVINCING EVIDENCE for it’s [evolution] acknowledgement as fact.

Do you have one, particular favorite from among all the exponentially convincing evidence? ONE that is most convincing for you?

Would you tell me which it is? Please? (And please be as specific as possible.)

 

P.S.

I’m awaiting your “rational” response over on “Let’s not surrender part 6.”

 

 


Papalinton - #68048

February 17th 2012

Sorry, dont_blame_me_blame_evolution,  I am unable to respond to gargle.


Cheers  :)

dont_blame_me_blame_evolution - #68052

February 17th 2012

Papalinton,

“Gargle”? The words in quotes were yours!

Let me try this again without bold letters.

From the massive mountain of evolution evidence, what is your one particular favorite?

Which one piece of evidence is most convincing for you?

(You may rinse now.)

 

P.S.

I’m still awaiting your “rational” response over on the blog titled “Let’s not surrender… part 6.”

 

 

 


Uncle Bonobo - #68067

February 18th 2012

Not a coincidence that this question is posed just below Dennis Venema’s fine article.


Start on any one of Dennis Venema’s fine articles on this website.  That’s what Biologos does best—explain the complex science in terms comprehensible to reasonably intelligent laymen.

PNG - #68080

February 19th 2012

I know your only asking for evidence in order to dismiss it, but try Dennis’s post of Feb. 17 or my blog entry here:  


http://artofthesoluble.blogspot.com/

See what you can come up with.

dont_blame_me_blame_evolution - #68088

February 19th 2012

Uncle Monkey and PNG,

I’ve already dealt with Dennis Venema (see page 2 of “Behold the Man”).

Dennis diverted my questions to him, by directing me elsewhere, to multiple articles of his. (Just as both of you are now doing.) I obliged him and read every one. This lead me to ask Dennis more questions – to which he never responded.

Am I asking too much? This shouldn’t be that hard!

I’ve asked this of both Papalinton (above) and David Evans (on blog “Let’s not surrender… part 6”), and have yet to receive a response.

So, now I’ll ask each of you two:

From the massive mountain of evolution evidence, what is your ONE particular favorite?

Which ONE piece of evidence is most convincing for you?

 

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Make your move.

 

 


beaglelady - #68089

February 19th 2012

Dear don’t,

PNG has answered you (comment #68080).  He suggested that you look here:

http://biologos.org/blog/understanding-evolution-is-there-junk-in-your-genome-part-4

or here:

http://artofthesoluble.blogspot.com/

And he said, “See what you can come up with.”

 

 

 


dont_blame_me_blame_evolution - #68091

February 19th 2012

Jesus Christ!!!!  (Help us and save us.)

How many #$%@!! times do I have to ask this?!?!

My repeated request is NOT about what I “can come up with”.

I’m asking THEM what THEY can come up with.

I’m asking for their very, very best. The %$*&#! crowning jewel on top of the massive, massive mound of ….

 

Can you not  %&$#&! understand that?!?!?

 

 


beaglelady - #68092

February 19th 2012

PNG came up with 2 posts (comment #68080) and requested a response to them.

Are you here to play word games?


dont_blame_me_blame_evolution - #68093

February 19th 2012

I’m not asking you.

I’m asking PNG.

And I’m asking PNG for ONE, NOT TWO.

And I’m asking for that one ONLY if it’s his very best. 

If poor PNG feels like a kid in a candy shop and just can’t decide, can’t PNG at least come up with his top two or three? Fine. Then flip a %$#@!&! coin or draw straws, and give me ONE.


Roger A. Sawtelle - #68090

February 19th 2012

PNG,

Thank you for your reference to your blog. 

It is a good article, but let me explain to you why it does not convince.  There are two reasons, but I will begin with the most basic.

The first is that the issue is not about the “science,” it is about the world view.  Evolution is touted as a materialistic process that proves the “hypothesis of the existence of God” is unnecessary.  Evolutionists such as Dawkins and Dennett believe this and apparently so do Creationists. 

If x proves y (that God does not exist) and we know that y is false (that God does exist), then x must be false also.  Thus strange as it may seem, on this level Creationism has logic working for it that no amount of “science” can disprove. 

However the problem is that just because Darwinian evolution is not right, does not mean that Creationism is right.  This brings me to the second issue with your posting, which is that it proves Creationism wrong without proving Darwinism right.  It proves that life forms have developed and changed geneticially from simpler forms, but it does not indicate how they changed.     

Darwin said the evolution had two interdependent aspects, Variation or change and Natural Selection which determined which changes survive and last, and which do not.  Variation as your posting and Denis’ clearly demonstrate on half of this, the Variation aspect.  They do not indicate how Natural Selection works so they do not prove that evolution is scientifically true.

Science is more than an external description of a process.  It must explain how something works, not that it works.  Thus far science has not explained how Natural Selection and thus evolution works. 

So there are two problems that your post does not address and no one seems to address, so the confict is not resolved, nor can it be resolved, because evolutionists are counting on science to be on their side which is only half right and creationists are counting on theology to be on their side which is only half right also. 

Both are half right, but mostly wrong, yet are unable to move from their positions.  Fortunately there is a position. if anyone is interested in investigating it that affirms the positives on each side, while rejecting the problems of each. 

Please let me know if you are interested.            

 


PNG - #68213

February 23rd 2012

Roger, it’s only intended to be an argument (a scientific one) for common descent, or, more minimally, that existing species have common ancestors. It works for groups of species that are related closely enough that genomic events like transposon insertions can be shown to be present at clearly orthologous loci. Thus it works for mammals and can probably be extended to related groups like birds, reptiles, and amphibians. When you get enough time since the common ancestor, the only similarities that remain in genomes are functional sequences like protein coding sequences that the anti-evolutionist can maintain are only similar because of common design.


I have taken a minimal approach with the idea that accepting that speciation has occurred and groups of species have common ancestors is a necessary first step. The mechanism of evolution is a more difficult and subtle question, and evolutionary biologists are still arguing about how much is accounted for by neutral drift, positively selected adaptation, purifying (negative) selection, sexual selection, etc. It would even be possible to formulate a version of ID that accepted all this, but maintained that not all the mutations are “random,” in the sense of being undirected. If a very small proportion of mutations were “directed,” they could drive evolution and be scientifically undetectable, so long as the overall spectrum of genomic changes looks “random.” Obviously, the mechanism is a difficult question, and I was just trying to deal with the preliminary business of showing that there is a huge mass of evidence that “macroevolution” (as the term is often used) has occurred.

Roger A. Sawtelle - #68219

February 23rd 2012

PNG.

My point is not against yours, but to say that we must go beyond this to really resolve the question.

My interest is in what you called positively selected adaptation, which indicates to me that the environmental niche plays a deciding role in determining whether a mutation survives and flourishes or not. 

I do not see the issue being whether mutations are random or not, but whether a) they are potentially adaptive and b) how is it determined if they are adaptive. 

I remember an article about the development of humans.  In a unfriendly environment, one strand developed a heavy strong jaw to better eat seeds with a heavy husk.  The other developed a bigger brain to better move on and hunt animals.  Both adapted but the heavy jawed eventually petered out and the big brained flourished and thrived. 

It has been pointed out that the opening of many new environmental niches has preceded the production of many new species.  I do not think that this a coincidence. 

It would seem that the earth is “programed” to develop in a particular fashion by God and these changes produce the development, variation, and diversity of species that we call evolution.  Of course genes do play a role, but not a guiding role.  This may be a difficult fact for geneticists to accept.   

This is what I mean by a marriage between genetic Darwinian evolution and ecological evolution which mush better explains the proces and makes it non-competitive, non-random,  and more rational.      

I appreciate your experience and your background, and any thoughts you might have on this topic. 

 


beaglelady - #68019

February 17th 2012

Is evolution the only scientific issue we tend to be clueless about?  Hardly. And here’s a timely webcast by the American Association for the Advancement of Science:

Why do so many political leaders and citizens remain unconcerned about climate change, water scarcity, fisheries depletion, and a host of other science-related global challenges?

An exceptional plenary panel at the 2012 AAAS Annual Meeting will explore how scientists, educators, and students can help influence public perceptions and debate about science-related global challenges. The panel will be moderated by Frank Sesno, an award-winning American journalist, former CNN correspondent, anchor and Washington bureau chief, and director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University.

Read about it and listen to the web cast on Saturday here:

http://www.aaas.org/meetings/2012/program/plenaries/panel.shtml

 

 


Douglas E - #68260

February 27th 2012

And speaking of upcoming conferences, I will put it a plug for the Conference on World Affairs, an annual event held at the University of Colorado, Boulder.  All sessions are free and open to the public, and cover a wide range of topics, including sessions related to the AAAS panel noted by beaglelady.  More info at http://www.colorado.edu/cwa/  The participants are all listed, and the final roster of the hundreds of eclectic panels will soon be posted - the weekend marathon of mano a mano among the subcommittees has occurred and the poobahs are tweeking the entire week’s events.  There will be at least 15 science and technology panels, and panels will definitely cover aspects of evolution, what it means to be human, and scientific literacy [or illiteracy as we often see in politics and religion].  If any in the BioLogos blogosphere choose to attend, be sure to let me know.


dont_blame_me_blame_evolution - #68116

February 20th 2012

Uncle Monkey (Bonobo),

PNG,

Papalinton,

David Evans…

Why haven’t you met my simple request (in #68088 above)?

Where’d you go?

Come on! Let’s have some fun. It’s a beautiful day where I am. 100% sunshine!

A verse for today:

“And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
For every one who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God.” [John 3:19-21]

 


dont_blame_me_blame_evolution - #68132

February 20th 2012

This blog’s title concerns education and it includes the word “school”.

In our schools, do history
classes cover the historical facts noted in this story?

http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/darwinism-the-root-of-the-culture-of-death-expert


Uncle Bonobo - #68164

February 21st 2012

Why haven’t you met my simple request?”

We did, but you were watching the Simpsons, instead. 

To assist, could you briefly summarize the discussion that PNG linked to at his website above?  4 or 5 sentences will do.

I am afraid your numerous disjointed, disorganized and gramatically creative posts filled with non sequiturs have caused me to doubt your interest in the subject matter, your seriousness in actual discussion, your reading comprehension and your analytical skills.

If you are really interested in a discussion on the merits, please show that you can comprehend and restate the science being presented by the other side (whether you agree with it or not).  I’ll be happy to do the same.


dont_blame_me_blame_evolution - #68172

February 21st 2012

Uncle Monkey,

“To assist, could you briefly summarize the discussion that PNG linked to at his website above?  4 or 5 sentences will do.”

No, No. The ball is in YOUR court. 

YOU summarize for me.

And make it very specific. Maybe it’s an article. But it better be ONE article, ONE that can stand on its own two feet (i.e. no endless regression of referrals to other research/articles.). I don’t have forever to frolic over every single “rock” on the massive mountain of evidence.


 


dont_blame_me_blame_evolution - #68173

February 21st 2012

Uncle Monkey,

…. I’M WAITING …

Come on!

As melanogaster said over on the Humpback Whale blog,  What are you afraid of?”

Be not afraid! The Truth has nothing to fear. The Truth can not be contradicted.

Actually, I think you have much to be afraid of, don’t you?

I think your “very best” has nothing but a curious, constricted “consensus”.

Pretty soon, the pronouncements of you and PNG and Charlie and all the others won’t have room to breath… Ever more constricted. Survival of the fittest (ideas), you know.

Because the Big Boa is doing its thing.

Welcome.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1tj2zJ2Wvg&ob=av3e

 

 


PNG - #68214

February 23rd 2012

Here’s a summary. Primate genomes (as the example that most interests people) have millions of transposable elements inserted in them at exactly corresponding positions in different species. None of the transposons in question are site specific in their targeting, so the occurrence of the transposition events in species that were common ancestors of today’s species is the only scientific explanation possible for what is observed. The argument is strengthened by the fact that transposons often insert in other transposons, so it is possible to tell, in a given cluster, in what order the insertions occurred in time. Not only the position, but the temporal order of insertion is seen to be the same in different species. I showed a diagram of the transposons in corresponding regions on chr. 3 of human and chimp as an example.


KevinR - #68215

February 23rd 2012

t’s probably not appropriate to do so in a biology class

Unfortunately, there is religion being taught in the biology class already. It’s called “Evolution”. That is, the evolution that speaks of all living things having a single common ancestor. This belief can only be taken on faith since it cannot be substantiated physically through observation - it happened in the past where no one can go back to. Looking at various things in the present and making big leaps of extrapolation cannot compensate for the impossibilities involved. It remains a faith of the first order to believe in a common ancestor evolution.


Papalinton - #68226

February 24th 2012

KevinR

“This belief can only be taken on faith since it cannot be substantiated physically through observation - it happened in the past where no one can go back to. “

This is a somewhat juvenile conception of evolution not being proven as fact.
The fact of evolution has been substantiated and that all living things on this planet share a common ancestor.  Have you ever heard of DNA?

Uncle Bonobo - #68224

February 23rd 2012

“This belief can only be taken on faith since it cannot be substantiated physically through observation - it happened in the past where no one can go back to.”

Of course, this is not true. It is well substatiated through physical observation and it’s misleading to suggest otherwise.  It was particarly bad timing to post this immediately after PNG explained how transposons demonstrate common descent.

Quite a number of things “happened in the past” and we can verify that they did so.  The “prediciton” of Tiktaalik is one good example:  http://tiktaalik.uchicago.edu/searching4Tik.html

Another everyday exampel is oil and gas exploration:
http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/fosrec/ONeill.html

People are willing to spend enormous amounts of money relying on the accuracy of our understanding of evolution to make predictions of future events based on past events.  It is good business to do so.  There is no similar situation with religion.  The closest religion comes to investing cash into in making predictions is Harold Camping, Heavens Gate and Jonestown.  We know how those all turned out.


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